Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the launch of the School District Performance Improvement Awards program that is designed to transform New York State's education system by incentivizing student achievement and encouraging school districts to implement innovative reforms to improve student performance.
The performance awards will be granted to school districts in the state that have demonstrated the most success in increasing student performance, narrowing the achievement gap, and increasing academic performance among students with the greatest educational needs. The awards will also be available to school districts that exhibit the greatest potential for continued improvements in student performance. Up to $75 million in grants will be distributed over the next three years, with additional awards to be distributed in future years. Districts that do not receive awards are eligible to reapply.
Currently, education aid is primarily distributed through formula-based grants without performance incentives or requirements. To transform the state's education system, Governor Cuomo created in his first Executive Budget two performance-based competitive award programs to incentivize student performance and management efficiency.
"New York must be the leader when it comes to education reform and this begins with improving performance on all levels," Governor Cuomo said. "For too many years, our state has spent more and more money on education, without producing the results our students deserve. This competitive award program will incentivize innovative reforms in school districts across the state that will benefit students and help educate the workforce of tomorrow. New York's commitment to its students is second to none, and we will continue to build our state's education system so every child can receive a top quality education."
New York's public schools spend more money per pupil than those in any other state. Yet, in measures of student performance, New York ranks 40th nationally in graduation rates and 34th nationally in the percentage of adults who have a high school diploma or the equivalent.
Today's announcement launches the program for incentivizing student performance. The management efficiency program will be launched in the coming weeks.
Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos said, "Over the past year, I have worked together with Governor Cuomo to find ways to improve New York's educational system while keeping in mind the tough demands of the current fiscal climate. As we continue to work on much-needed education reforms, our students will always be the top priority."
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said, "Our children deserve a high quality education and more resources will help narrow the achievement gap and improve student performance. I have always been a strong advocate for educational programs that benefit our students, and I am pleased that Governor Cuomo shares our goals and knows that our children deserve a high quality education."
Grants will be awarded pursuant to a competitive process and applications will be reviewed and scored by a peer review panel. School districts will be graded based on increases in student performance and success in implementing innovative programs to increase student performance including, models to improve and expand middle school student performance, college level or early college programs, college admission, and career and technical education training programs.
School districts must submit applications to the State Education Department by January 17, 2012, and the first round of awards will be announced and awarded during the 2011-2012 school year.
More information and school district applications available here: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/funding/2012-15perfimp/